Driscoll Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program was conducting car seat inspections at Kohl's Department Store from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday.
Certified technicians were on hand to help parents and caregivers ensure proper installation of their car seats.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of death for children ages 1-13 is motor vehicle crashes. In fact, 2010 data showed that two children below the age of 12 were killed and 325 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. They also estimate that nearly three our of every four car seats is not used correctly.
Those who attended the event Friday were instructed in the proper installation of car seats, and how to choose the right seat. It was all part of Driscoll's participation in Child Passenger Safety Week, which occurs Sept. 16-22.
Some important guidelines provided at the event are:
For infants through children that are 12 months old - Children under one year of age should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats have higher height and weight limits, so children can remain rear-facing for longer.
For children 1-3 years old - Kids should stay in a rear-facing seat until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Sometimes, this can mean children are riding rear-facing until they are two years old, and even older. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she can upgrade to a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
For children 4-7 years old - Kids should stay in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Once they outgrow it, they can use a booster seat, but still must ride in the back seat.
For children 8-12 years old - Until a child is big enough to wear a seat belt properly, they should stay in a booster seat. A properly fitted seat belt means the lap belt must be snug across the upper thighs and not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face.
Remember to select a car seat based on the child's age and size, and choose a seat that fits in the vehicle. Refer to the car seat manufacturer's instructions, and read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system. Also, check height and weight limits.
For maximum safety, keep your kids in a car seat for as long as possible, provided that they fit within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements. Also, keep them riding in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old.
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